8 Best ways to start Command Prompt in Windows 10

If you want to know how to open and use the command prompt app in Windows 10,  7, or 8 but using different ways including keyboard shortcuts then go through the methods given in this article…

In Windows 10, 7, or other previous versions, most of us use the mouse & GUI interface to navigate and perform various tasks. However, there are certain cases where we have to use command line commands in the command prompt (CMD). Even if the CMD does not seem particularly attractive, it is a very quick way to perform various tasks such as maintenance, analysis, enabling various services, and updating the Windows system.


What is the command prompt?

The command prompt (also console or terminal) is a program in Windows operating system, a text-based user interface, to run various commands for system control and management. It comes with a GUI interface to easily allow users to execute commands, manage the PC and solve problems.

When there was no GUI implementation in the older operating system of Microsoft that is MS-DOS, it was completely based on the command line to operate and manage the system.

Well, we can do the same, because that interface is now available in the form of a Command terminal to pass certain predefined CMD commands to the operating system.


Multiple ways to open the Windows 10 command prompt

The answer to the common question “Where can I find the command prompt?” Well, as we know command prompt is also an app like any other software available on Windows, thus we can run CMD quickly. There are several ways to open the command prompt in Windows 10 (and Windows 8) and here are the best possible ones…

1. Bring up the command prompt with the keyboard

Many times you would want to have a keyboard shortcut to open a command prompt on Windows just like we do for the terminal in Ubuntu Linux.  Well, that is possible, however, you have to set that manually and here I will let you know how?

  • Simply in the Windows 10 search box type- CMD and select Open file location.
    OPen CMD file location min
  • Now, right-click on the Command prompt shortcut icon and select properties.
    Create CMD Keyboard shortcut min
  • Go to the Shortcut column and press any keyboard key to automatically set the shortcut that you want to use to open CMD every time.
  • For example, here I am setting it to Ctrl+Alt+C 
  • Hit the Apply button to save the same.
    Set command prompt shortcut keys on Windows 10 min
  • In case you want to start the command prompt using the keyboard but with administrative rights. Then select the Advanced button and check the box given for the same.
    Run command prompt shortcut with adminsitrative rights min


2. Open Command prompt using Run box

The second method is also simple and quick. In all Windows versions, we have a tool called Command run box. Where we can type pre-defined commands to open various applications including CMD.

Thus, press the Win+R key on your keyboard and type CMD then hit the Enter key. If you want to open in Administrative mode, then press the Shift button and then hit the Enter Key.

Command prompt using Run box


3. Using Windows key + X start button menu

In Windows 10, when you right-click on the Start button, a pop-up menu will open with various options and shortcuts to open apps and settings. However, in the latest versions of Windows, you will not get the Command prompt option there because it has been replaced by Powershell by default. To bring that back, simply in the search box type Settings ⇒ Personalization ⇒ Taskbar and turn off the Toggle button given for “Replace Command prompt with the menu...”.

Command Prompt in Windows Start menu


4. Run Command prompt from Search results

This one is the most common and maybe you already have been using it. In this method, we just need to type either command prompt or CMD in the Windows 10 Search box. The system will give the results, then click on the icon to Open or for running CMD with Administrative rights, use the option available for it.

open command prompt from Search box windowns 10


5. Start Command prompt from File Explorer Address Bar

While working inside some folder or anywhere on Windows using its File Explorer, the easiest way to open CMD is using the Address bar using mouse and keyboard.

Click on the Address bar or press Alt+D, type CMD, and hit the Enter key.

Open Command prompt from File Explorer


6. “Open Command Prompt Windows here”, in Context Menu

Well, if you have enabled the Command prompt to appear in the Windows Context menu then we can start CMD directly with just one right-click, anywhere. Press the shift key and right-click anywhere on your desktop screen.

Open command prompt window here

Alternatively, you can also open the CMD anywhere in your current directory by just pressing shift and right-clicking.

Open Command windows here min


7. Create CMD Desktop Shortcut

To create a Desktop shortcut for Command Prompt on Windows 10 or in the previous version, right-click anywhere on Desktop’s space and select NewShortcut.

Create Command prompt desktop shortcut Windows 10

Type CMD in the “Type the location of the item” box and click on the Next button.

Set application for shortcut min

Press the Finish button to finally create the shortcut.

Windows command terminal min

If you want to run it every time with Admin rights, then right-click on the created shortcut, select properties, click on the Advanced button, and check the box given for “Run as Administrator“.

CMD executable desktop shortcut min

Run command prompt shortcut with adminsitrative rights min


8. Start from Windows Task Manager

This method is similar to the one we used to start the Command prompt using the Run command box. In the same way, if you are on Windows 10 or 7 Task Manager, then click on File ⇒ Run New Task. Type CMD and hit the Enter button you will get the CMD command line with Admin rights…

Run new task min

Create a New Task to run CMD min


9.  Use Prompt in Powershell shell

If you already using Powershell for some task, then without leaving your current session, it is possible to switch to Command prompt. For that simply type- CMD.

open command prompt in Powershell session


So, these were few shortcuts and quick ways to open a Command prompt on Windows 10, 8, and a few also applicable for Windows 7. However, if you have some confusion between CMD and Powershell, then let’s discuss a little bit as well.

Command Prompt vs. Windows PowerShell: What’s the Difference Explained?

Initially, the Windows operating systems have only one tool to issue commands to manage various services and system activities including apps. However, later with Windows 7, Microsoft introduced one more command-line tool called PowerShell which is now popular among developers/administrators and also available to install for Linux operating systems. You can see this article to learn about that- How to install Powershell on Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, and other Linux distros using SNAP.

Basically, PowerShell is the updated version of the command prompt. Yet, what is the difference between the two tools?

CMD is commonly used by standard and system administrators to process batch files, troubleshoot common errors, and repair or manage system files. Whereas Powershell offers new sets of powerful tools, of course, that also makes it more complex than CMD.

Actually, the Command prompt was not able to keep up with the shell that Linux users and administrators are used to. Therefore, to remove that gap Microsoft introduced PowerShell for Admins to perform various tasks, for example using Powershell we can control and edit an entire network and all of the systems in it.

It is a complete scripting environment that can be used to create complex scripts for managing Windows systems.

In contrast to CMD, which can only execute batch commands, PowerShell also offers the option of using batch and PowerShell commands. In addition to .exe, .cmd, .msc and .vbs, PowerShell also loads other user files such as .docx, .jpg, .xls, and .pdf.

In fact, we can use the commands of the Command prompt in Powershell, but the reverse is not possible. They both are closely linked, that’s why we can directly call CMD during a PowerShell session by entering the “CMD” command.

Few Important CMD commands

We already have talked about the way to access CMD on Windows 10/8/7, now here are some common commands that we can use to start learning and getting familiar with the working of command prompt. 

dir Lists a directory content
cd .. Changes to the higher directory
cd <name> Changes to the directory with the name entered
cd \ Change to the root directory
copy / xcopy Allows files to be copied
exit Exits the command prompt
move Moves a file to another location
cls Clears the contents of the command prompt
md Creates a new directory
approx Deletes a directory
comp Compare data content
compact Compression of files
copy / xcopy Copy files
erase / del Delete one or more files
expand Unzip the file
fc Compare files
mkdir Create directory
move Move files
rename Rename files
replace Replace files
rmdir / rd Delete directory
tree Display folder structure graphically
type Display the content of text files
chkntfs Change disk verification
defrag Defragment the disk
diskpart Disk management
driverquery Show installed devices
format Format data carrier
label Change the volume label
Fashion Configure devices
mountvol Assign or delete a drive letter
verify Monitoring of a data carrier
vol Display the name of the hard disk
shutdown-l  the user will be logged off.
shutdown-r Restart your PC
ipconfig you can see your IP address.
tasklist list of all active processes
rmdir Rename Folder
mkdir Create folder or directory
help To see a list of all CMD commands